Friday, January 11, 2008

Hollywood Science

At Laelaps Brian Switek gives a lukewarm review to Sidney Perkowitz's new book, Hollywood Science. Besides focusing on just a handful of movies, it gives short shrift to the biosciences.
Natural sciences were also largely left on the cutting room floor, which is likely due to two factors. First is that many people might not include "revenge of nature" films (often involving monsters created by pollution, radiation, experiments, unusual natural conditions, etc.) in the science fiction genre, probably because many people equate science with technology and medicine. The second factor is that Perkowitz is a physicist, and biologists still sometimes suffer from having their discipline regarded as "soft science" (even if we do have a proclivity for squishy things rather than equations). Still, scientists often appear in films involving the threat of a monster, from Dr. Serizawa in Gojira to Hooper in Jaws to Dr. Grant in Jurassic Park, and (for lack of a better term) "monster movies" provide plenty of fodder for study when considering science in films.
It sounds like the book promises more than it produces.

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